Slappy Slim’s “The Anti-Rapper” & Marble Mummy’s “The Fast Bounce Tape”: Double Down Album Reviews!
Slappy Slim – “The Anti-Rapper”
Micah Van Voorst is everywhere. Literally. As Micah, he schools neighbor kids on the basketball court, teaching them lessons in both balling and life. As DJ M-Select, he scratches and does videography for The Vegtible Bros. As Van Norst, he runs a dark metal cult that drinks wolvesblood every time U of M loses. And, of course, as Slappy Slim, he has been popping up on everyone’s albums. I don’t even have one, but he’s already on it. This time, he has an album he can call his own, entitled The Anti-Rapper. With 13 tracks clocking in at 41 minutes, it’s an exhausting poetic onslaught. Typically, we are only used to hearing Slim go for about 1 minute. That’s, like, 41 times the Slim! And the best part? It’s free!
Okay, so maybe the price isn’t the best part. This is actually a solid piece of work. For those who are unaware, he has a true gift in words. There is one story that comes to mind while trying to explicate this: I went to his house not long ago. He was standing in his kitchen, surrounded by empty deuces of High Life and sipping on a polar pop, playing scrabble by himself. Looking at the board, he had come up with words that I could never imagine. He’s a wordsmith, this thing I’m sure of. And if you’d give the album a once-over, you’d undoubtedly believe me.
The album starts out strong with Captain’s Chair. It’s a crashing wave of quotable lines. One that is recited in my mind to a 10-times-a-day basis is “Take my time like a stolen clock/Drove down the block/Had to stop and turn around, I forgot my Polar Pop”. As you can plainly see, he speaks of very relatable things. There had been many times in my life when I would have to turn around and go back home on the account of a missing Polar Pop. You realize that it’s not going to get warm while you’re gone, but man, that would mean you’d have to buy another one! The pace is continued with Shit Yo Damn, the only single off the album. It’s one of the few tracks with a chorus, and it’s a catchy one. Either way, the music video speaks for itself. Also, it’s really comforting to get a glimpse at the Innes House [where most of this album was recorded] before it burned down.
Another standout track is Melky, which features a John Coltrane sample produced by Vito that I still can’t put my finger on. It’s a relaxing time, as he serenades you with rhymes about cereal. [“You must be Grape Nuts to want to battle this/I’ve got more Trix than a silly rabbit can meddle with” and “My style’s so wild, even Mikey likes it”] No hip-hop album would be complete without [at least] one epic collaboration. Here, we have Supercollider, which features YP Louis [Yes!], Matt G, Nhate Backwards and Rick Nigma. It does everything that a collab piece should do, as everyone seems to be on top of their game. And most importantly, it’s fun to hear them working off of each other. The same can be said in “How Can She Slap”, which is a drone that features Slave One and Norm Biz. Also, it seems that the album wouldn’t be complete without a nostalgia track. This is fulfilled by Back To MI, which is surprisingly heartfelt ballad about all of the friends he had that moved away. He masterfully recalls vivid memories with ease. It makes me wish…well…that I could come back to Michigan.
All of that aside, this album still took a while to grow on me. In order to appreciate it, one must shut up actually listen to it. The beats aren’t the most inspired things on the face of the earth, but they are still a good reprieve from the typical digital snare I’ve been hearing in Pop-Rap lately. The problem is that they’re sometimes a tad too distracting. It feels as if most of the beats try to take over the track, while he mumbles in the background. If this were anyone else, I wouldn’t give two shits. But you should really be hearing what he has to say, so it does become a huge problem.
There’s a lot more that I can say about this album. I could make lists of my favorite lines and break down cultural references, but I won’t. I would feel like I’m spoiling the entire thing. My advice? Give the album a listen. All you can possibly lose is 41 minutes of your life. If you truly want them back, let me know. I might be able to get you a time refund. If you really do enjoy it, I would advise that you check out his SoundCloud page, which is constantly in supply of fresh tracks and words of wisdom.
Coze’s Rating: 8.0/10
Marble Mummy – “The Fast Bounce Tape”
Erik Gustafson must not ever sleep. In the past year, he has released 2 full-length albums [of which the reviews can be found here and here], a collection of instrumentals and now, The Fast Bounce Tape. Clocking in at a mere 32 minutes, it is his shortest and most direct album to date. It is essentially a mixtape [hence, the title?] and it’s one that evokes endless feelings of nostalgia. I mentioned in a previous review that “Made of Marble Pt. 1” was perfect for riding public transit. “The Fast Bounce Tape” is perfect for the opposite: sitting in a comfortable couch or captain’s chair and playing away at some Sega Genesis. Whether it be NHLPA ’93 or Vectorman, The Fast Bounce Tape will perfectly blend in with whatever your 16-bit fancy may be. I feel like this is subliminally pointed out in ’90s feel of the intro/outro.
The album officially kicks off with a cerebral punch in the face, as per usual. The Luncheon is a short and tidy Matt G joint, featuring a pulsing beat and some of Matts best anecdotes. It’s a song that’s essentially about having lunch. What could be better? Obviously, the answer is nothing. After that, we are delved as listeners into the depths of Yuch Muffin, which is a track that I will always be conflicted about. It features the dream team of Matt G, Slappy Slim and Donnie Destro, with lines that are playful and easy on the ears. The environment that they’re placed in, however, is stark in contrast. The beat is dark, perhaps one of the darkest I’ve heard Marble produce. There are little slivers inside that cut into your eardrums like a knife. As a listener, one is ultimately displaced by it and makes the rapper’s playfulness seem menacing. However, the fact that I feel this way only proves that it works on some level. It’s not one that you can simply pass over. Or maybe I just get sketched out too easily. Now, thanks to Destro’s animating skills, there is video evidence of this conflict:
As you can see, it takes a certain kind of ear and sense of humor to totally understand this juxtaposition. The acid nightmare is a hilarious form of frightening, which is a feeling that I feel a lot of Marble’s stuff evokes. It’s not for everyone, but if it is for you, it’s the best thing ever.
The album continues a little further onward with the same murky tone. Over the labyrinthian beat of To The Gills, Slappy Slim succeeds in rapping as fast as he possibly can. So fast, that I can hardly transcribe any lines to quote. Then you have “Log Cabin Jam”, which is a noteworthy instrumental collaboration with Logan Walters. It’s an intense wave of sound that feels like a New Order B-Side [which technically isn’t a bad thing]. It’s that special kind of beat that sweeps you away while you zone out and play Streets of Rage 2, constantly dodging the derelict that runs diagonally with the shanking knife. It gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside that can only be attained by going directly to the source.
In speaking of Streets of Rage 2, there’s also the tenacious YP Louis on Deuces Pt II (The Asswhooping Edition). It’s essentially a parody of Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up”, with YP Lou explaining repeatedly the different ways that he’s going to whoop your ass. Entertainment-wise, it’s definitely the highlight of the album. It’s easy on the ears and catchy. I said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times: I need more YP Louis in my life. The mixtape carries on with Vaporized, which has an interesting eastern beat and Matt G shooting from the hip more than ever. Everything comes to a peaceful close with Ryu Beat [another 16-bit reference?]. Slappy Slim is in true laid-back form and Destro is spot-on as usual. The real icing, however, is its mix. Something about it makes me light in the head. It tells us that the album is coming to a close. It’s a sleepy beat and it couldn’t have been put in a better place.
Overall, it’s hard to define how this album should be ranked up with the others. It doesn’t have the meandering charm of the “Made of Marble” discs, but it also makes you question whether or not the meandering has merit. Regardless, this album exists and it has found a place in my ears. It’s a light snack to eat on a long summer day, as opposed to the towering feasts Chef Marble is used to preparing. There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t give this album a shot, especially if you have ever heard any of his other stuff. Just do it. I dare you. Download it, burn it, transfer it to a cassette, pop it into your ghetto blaster, slam in your Sonic The Hedgehog cartridge, hit power and play simultaneously, and enjoy. In the meantime, I’m sure Marble will be cooking up something new. Because that’s what he always does…
Coze’s Rating: 8.0/10
Originally posted 7/19/11